It was 25 years ago but I still clearly remember my computer science professor saying that computer software (and microchips) was the most complex thing humans have created. This was before the dot com boom, the rise of google and social media and before the mainstream application of AI!
About the same time, this complexity also led to the emergence of agile as a methodology to help develop software. The premise was simple, you can’t design and deliver such complex things in one long waterfall of requirements then design, then build, then test.
Instead, start with a clear vision but work iteratively in short cycles or sprints, understanding, designing and delivering as you go. It’s not perfect, but agile has prevailed and is now permeating into most progressive organisations as a vital tool for how you organise and get any work done – not just software.
However some fields are still woefully behind, one is leadership development. Despite the Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous (VUCA) environments that leaders today deal with we are still decades behind in how we develop leaders. Waterfall style events and programs where leaders are expected to absorb and transform in fixed periods of time with fixed content are the norm.
For 10 yrs now at JumpShift we have been bringing an agile approach to leadership development. Prompting development with a series of short sprints of reflection, inspiration and experimentation (smart action) that then becomes a habit has proven to work a treat. Our job now is to share and make this available to bigger audiences and help make a bigger more positive impact.
1) Making this approach ever more scalable
2) Share what we have been doing more widely and make sure we take a leadership role in promoting the agile approach to leadership development
3) Align our agile approach directly with vertical leadership development. Our vertical leadership development incubators have shown me that leadership development professionals are hungry for a more concrete, modern, ‘how to’ approach and we have exactly that, plus a great story!